More wins for Richards & Full as championships head for Indy showdown. Porsche ace Jim Richards is just one race away from confirming his third Australian Nations Cup Championship after another faultless performance on the Surfers Paradise...
More wins for Richards & Full as championships head for Indy showdown.
Porsche ace Jim Richards is just one race away from confirming his third Australian Nations Cup Championship after another faultless performance on the Surfers Paradise street circuit today.
With pole position and a race win to his credit on Thursday, Richards again led from start to finish in the second of three races scheduled for the final round of the season at the Honda Indy 300 event.
The win earned Richards the series lead for the first time and 10th place in tomorrow's final leg will be all it takes to secure the championship for GT sports cars for the third straight year.
In the GT Performance competition for production touring cars, combined with Nations Cup for this weekend only, Geoff Full took a second win in his all-wheel drive Mitsubishi Evo VII.
This kept alive the Sydney driver's hopes of wresting the title from current points leader Brett Peters, who finished just behind in a Subaru STi.
Ninth tomorrow would get Peters his second championship, but racing in the middle of the field with its attendant risk of incident on the concrete-walled Indy circuit means the trophy is far from certain.
"I'll be extremely cautious tomorrow; this is not a track for heroic driving," Peters said.
Unlike Peters, Richards before this weekend had taken only one victory from 21 starts this season. However, he has crept up on his more successful rivals Geoff Morgan (Chrysler Viper) and John Bowe (Ferrari 360GT) with a typically consistent record of podium finishes.
Bowe finished second today. He came close to attacking Richards in lapped traffic on the last of eight laps, but the wily Porsche driver was able to defend his space in the final few corners.
Lamborghini's Paul Stokell also was ready to be part of the move, but it went wrong four corners from the end of the race when he overshot the braking area.
He recovered quickly to keep his position across the line, but post-race time penalties against Stokell and fourth finisher Morgan, for jumping the corner kerbs, leapfrogged Peter Fitzgerald (Porsche) to third in the final official results.
Nine drivers, including Bowe's Ferrari teammate Paul Morris, received penalties of between 30 seconds and 45 sec. as race officials kept a heavy hand on kerb-hopping offences.
Morgan said he had little hope of still winning the Nations Cup outright championship.
"The only way it will happen is if Jim has a shocker tomorrow - and Jim Richards doesn't usually have those," he said.
In the Nations Cup Group Two contest, Golden Coast property developer John Teulan is on course to take the series title over AFL football personality Sam Newman, although the result will not be settled until the Ferrari teammates cross the finish line.
Australian Nations Cup Championship (Round 8),
Australian GT Performance Championship (Round 8):
Race 2 of 3, Round 8 of 8 (8 laps)
Outright & Nations Cup Group One
1 Jim Richards (Vic.) Porsche GT3 Cup
2 John Bowe (Vic.) Ferrari 360GT
3 Peter Fitzgerald (Vic.) Porsche GT3 Cup
4 Paul Stokell (Vic.) Lamborghini Diablo GTR
5 Geoff Morgan (NSW) Chrysler Viper
6 Kevin Bell (NZ) Porsche GT3 Cup
1 Geoff Full (NSW) Mitsubishi Evo VII
2 Brett Peters (Qld) Subaru Impreza STi
3 Wayne Boatwright (NSW) Subaru Impreza STi
4 Mark King (Qld) Mitsubishi Evo VII
5 Trevor Haines (Vic.) Ford Tickford TE50
6 Peter Boylan (NSW) BMW M3
Championship points (after Race 2, Round 8): Nations Cup Group One & outright - 1151 Jim Richards, 1132 Geoff Morgan, 1087 John Bowe. Nations Cup Group Two - 1137 John Teulan, 1112 Sam Newman. GT Performance - 1022 Brett Peters, 1000 Geoff Full, 809 Graham Alexander.
Timetable: Sunday - 8.55 Race 3 (8 laps).
Television:: SBS Speedweek - Saturday 2 November, 4.30 - 5.30. (Check local guides).